Matthew Leveridge is an elected prosecutor in Kentucky, and now he’s running to be a judge. But he’s no stranger to scandal. Back in 2014, he admitted to getting a defendant being prosecuted by his office pregnant — and then doubled down on the problematic behavior by threatening her sentencing when she revealed the affair to Leveridge’s wife.
As reported by Daily Beast:
Latisha Sartain (now Lashley) was prosecuted by Leveridge’s office in 2011 for trafficking in a controlled substance. She was placed on a pretrial diversion for five years and, in 2014, the affair began. It ended a couple of months later when Sartain became pregnant and she told his wife. Leveridge then moved to void her pretrial diversion, though it was later reinstated by a special prosecutor who took over for Leveridge in the case.
And he reportedly met Sartain through a probation officer he was also having sex with.
As everyone who has taken professional ethics knows, this isn’t a great look:
“If you’re a prosecutor, you’re not even supposed to talk to a defendant without her attorney being present, much less—well, this,” attorney Larry Rogers, who represented Sartain, told the Lexington Herald-Leader at the time. “Universally, I think everyone would agree this is a big, big, big no-no.”
He was also the subject of a criminal investigation over having sex with jurors:
He also admitted to having an affair with a juror in 2013 after she was dismissed as an alternate on a murder trial. He claimed to have believed her jury duty was over, though she said she was called to serve on another panel before being dismissed when the case was settled.
The juror told the investigation that Leveridge “was just using her for sex,” and that she didn’t understand why “someone with a wife, a child and such an important job would take such risks.” She added that he “frequently made the statement during her time with him that ‘I don’t have no boss,’” the Courier Journal reports.
But don’t worry — there weren’t any professional consequences. Despite an investigation by an attorney general’s public corruption/special investigations unit, no official misconduct indictment ever came down, and he was never sanctioned by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
As Ken Upchurch, a member of the Kentucky’s House of Representatives, told the Louisville Courier Journal, even fellow Republicans are not pleased with Leveridge’s decision to run for judge, “It’s like the church head deacon having an affair with the choir director, then wanting to be the preacher.”
For his part, Leveridge has acknowledged the mistake and says he’s moved on:
“I acknowledged the mistake, sought forgiveness, took responsibility and accepted the consequences. I learned from the mistake and have since moved on to a better life, both personally and professionally.”
Let’s hope voters take a dimmer view of Leveridge’s propensity to use his public office for his own benefit.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).